Being new to school is tough at any age, but for younger students, it can be really overwhelming! Transitioning to a brand new school after other students have already settled into a routine can be scary. Students are learning rules that other students already know and understand, and they are anxious to meet their teachers and classmates. You can make new students feel welcome with these tips any time of year.
Welcome them from day one!
Make sure your new student knows how excited you are to see them. Allow them to share a little about themselves with the class if they feel comfortable. Sometimes students transitioning after the school year has already started may be just moving to a new city or school district and may already be anxious. Give them time to share with the group, but don’t push too hard.
Back to school night is a great time to meet families, but with new students, this open house night may have already passed. Still share the same welcome letter & meet the teacher information you presented to families in the early fall. Let parents know that you are available to answer questions, meet them, and share what their child will be learning this year. This is also a way to share a little bit about yourself!
Fill out information forms.
Update easy, ready-to-go forms to make sure you have access to students’ information, parent contacts, and technology information for all of your students. This makes students feel welcome even if they never see these forms. Keeping track of the information on your students allows you to get to know them and their family better.
Focus on relationships first.
At the start of the school year, I always spend time getting to know my class before diving into content. Just because a student comes later in the year doesn’t mean you should skip this step. Ask them questions about likes and dislikes. Engage them in conversations about their weekends or how they are enjoying school. Taking an interest in your new student will help them feel welcome in your classroom.
Give them a buddy.
Choose a kind student to help them “learn the ropes” of the classroom. They can remind them of routines and procedures that you can review with the class as to not single the new student out. You may want to sit the student at their table or at a desk nearby. This person can be someone they can trust, play with at recess, or partner up with in class.
Make a “new student kit”.
Many of the materials mentioned like the “welcome letter” and some of the information forms for parents can be included in a new student kit. Along with the parent letter and forms, add items like a laminated blank name tag, special desk supplies, journals or books, supply list, school calendar or event list, and more.
There is nothing worse for a new student than to fill out of the loop. A new student kit helps them be aware of what is going on in the classroom and the school. Parents can also easily get involved.
This free video will teach you how to make a new student kit, the perfect welcoming tool for new kids in your classroom. Make new students feel welcome with these tips and the new student kit!